Ideas Series: Get a Brain Morans

Although the photo predates the movement, this image has become for blog-reading US Democrats and the Left an iconic image of ‘Tea Party’ opposition to everything Obama, every Democratic Party legislative initiative, and all socially ‘progressive’ ideas.

It is (apparently) from a counter-demonstration to an antiwar protest held at a Boeing missile factory at St. Charles, in the Southern state of Missouri, on March 23, 2003. The image includes elements that appear to typify this movement. The background in the two known photos of the man show several US flags, and in one a yellow ribbon, usually signifying support for US troops, is visible.

Several people are dressed in casual wear, but the main character’s starred head bandanna (white stars on blue field), his retro moustache and long back hair, and the beginnings of a beer belly readily identify him as a stereotypical redneck. That uncomplimentary term designates white residents of rural or small-town America, whose necks are presumed to be reddened by the elements while engaging in outdoor work, typically on the farm, at least in the past. Rednecks are considered by middle-class city dwellers and suburbanites to be uneducated, ill-informed, provincial, chauvinistic, and authoritarian. This man is an up-to-date redneck, however, and his skin looks untanned and smooth. The redneck tag is sometimes extended to include men with outdoor working-class city jobs, and rather than being rejected by those so-called, the term is sometimes embraced by people whose identity centres on patriotism or religious conservatism.

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Published in Photoworks Issue 16, 2011
Commissioned by Photoworks

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